By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
June 19. As the summer travel season reaches its zenith, it's always frustrating to wait in long lines at the airport as baggage is x-rayed and examined for added security. No waiting or security seems to take place for certain local airport workers, however. On June 19, someone stole three identification badges from the locker of a man employed by Certified Aviation Services of Costa Mesa. The badges permit entry into the "secure" landing areas of John Wayne, Long Beach and Ontario airports. Resistance would only be encountered on the odd chance other airport personnel confronted the unrecognized intruder. Even more alarming, the victim showed police how anyone with opposable thumbs—which pretty much includes everyone but Huntington Beach Mayor Dave Garofalo—was easily able to open the faceplate to all CAS lockers, exposing the contents. As a result, the employee always hid the highly sensitive identification badges in the rear of his locker, underneath a pile of clothing. Such advanced security measures make the Athens, Greece, airport seem well-guarded. The victim told police he'd had many items stolen in the past two months but decided to notify police only when the badges were pilfered. Backers of an international airport at El Toro will no doubt point to the three missing ID badges as further evidence a new airport is needed.
I HAD THAT DREAM AGAIN, SMITHERS June 26. Did you ever have that crazy dream? You know, the one where you stuff your money clip with $100 cash into your pants pocket, slip your pants over the chair and go to bed? When you wake up the next morning, the wind is whistling through the open window, your pants are lying on the floor, all the money is gone, and your buttocks are slightly sore? A man staying at a Costa Mesa hotel on Harbor Boulevard had the same dream, only his turned out to be real.
GONE IN 20 SECONDS June 29. Remember the good old days, when it might take somebody all morning to steal your file cabinet? Nowadays someone can nab your entire workspace quicker than it takes for something mindless to happen in a Jerry Bruckheimer film. A man breakfasting at the nearly empty Travelodge Motel on Bristol Street in Costa Mesa placed his Compaq Presario notebook computer next to his table and turned to get a glass of orange juice from the dispenser roughly 12 feet away. Diverted a total of 20 seconds, the man returned with his beverage to find his laptop gone. The victim eyed a male and female walking out of the breakfast room and followed them out the door. After a quick recon mission, he abandoned pursuit. Since his computer had been stored inside a big 17-by-10-by-12-inch bag, it would have been difficult to conceal, and the couple were thinly dressed and traveling light. When the victim returned to the scene of the crime, no one else remained. The case remains a mystery.
WHEN A STRANGER CALLS (AND YOU'VE BEEN OUT RUNNING ERRANDS, AND YOU LEFT THE DOOR OPEN, AND THE PLACE IS A MESS) June 29. A scary encounter became somewhat embarrassing for an Anaheim woman listed as "baby-sitting" for a Newport Beach doctor. "Baby-sitting" is an odd term—there was certainly no baby involved, and not much sitting, either. We are inclined to think she was housesitting, or pet sitting, except for the following tale of negligence. At 10:15 p.m., the woman left her post at the doctor's house to run some errands. Due to a broken mechanism, the garage door was jammed in the open position. Nevertheless, the sitter drove off into the night, leaving the access door to the house unlocked and the garage door wide open. An hour later, she returned and re-entered the house. Once she was inside, the dog—which had been lying quietly in the dining room—became agitated. Suddenly, a police report notes, a deep male voice "made a statement similar to 'DON'T COME NEAR ME.'" Terrified, the woman burst out of the house and notified police. Around 15 minutes later, she hesitatingly returned to find the front door to the house wide open. Encountering no intruder within, she locked herself in the laundry room until police arrived. Securing the residence, police were unable to find the intruder. Although they suspect a burglary attempt, authorities couldn't determine whether any items were stolen. The reason? The "cluttered condition of the residence" made theft assessment impossible.
REVENGE IS A DISH BEST SERVED COLD, AND PREFERABLY IN A GREASY SKILLET June 30. The manager of a Costa Mesa Denny's phoned police with the following story. At 3:43 a.m., a young man with a shaved head and a Corona T-shirt entered the restaurant and ordered the world-famous Meat Lover's Skillet. He ate most of his meal (skillet excepted), visited the men's room and then abruptly walked out of the restaurant without paying for his eats. Although Denny's furnishes free meals on patrons' birthdays, the young man gave no indication it was his big day. Either way, spending the wee hours over a fluorescent-lit pile of meat doesn't sound like much of a party. Waving cheerfully from the parking lot to the puzzled restaurant manager, the suspect then ran behind a nearby Del Taco, hopped into a white minivan and took off. The monetary value of the suspect's free meal? $6.19. The look on the chagrined manager's face? Priceless. The arteriosclerosis slowly hardening the suspect's arteries? Deadly.